Dog taking antibiotics

Antibiotics – Your Role as a Pet Owner

Antibiotics are drugs that kill disease-causing agents like bacteria. They’re not effective against viruses. Antibiotic resistance in pets is becoming a greater challenge, much like it is in humans.

Antibiotic resistance is when the bacteria causing an infection are not affected by the antibiotic, making it an ineffective treatment. Not every infectious disease needs antibiotic treatment (viral infections being one of the more pertinent examples).

Please don’t demand antibiotics if your vet says that your pet doesn’t need them. Antibiotics are vital to treat and prevent disease in animals and humans, but the risk that the organism causing the disease will develop resistance to them is increased every time they’re used.

To make sure that antibiotics stay effective now and in the future, they must be strictly controlled and used only when necessary and with caution.

How to keep your pet healthy

A healthy animal is better equipped to fight off infections. So do your best to keep your pet healthy by feeding it food with a high nutritional value, providing a healthy lifestyle, having regular vaccinations and taking it regularly for an examination by the vet each year. If your pet gets sick, go to the vet immediately.

Guidelines for administering antibiotics

Don’t share antibiotics between pets or reuse tablets that were prescribed for an earlier illness. They may not be appropriate for your pet’s current condition, or they may be toxic for certain animals, out of date or contaminated.

Never give human medicines to your pets, unless advised to by a vet, as they could be dangerous or ineffective.

We may need to carry out laboratory tests to find out whether treatment with antibiotics is really necessary and, if so, which antibiotic will work best. We’ll then be able to prescribe the right antibiotic for the right bacteria. Older antibiotics such as penicillin are often as effective as newer antibiotics.

Make sure that you give your pet all the recommended doses of an antibiotic as prescribed, even if they seem better after a few doses. This helps cure the current infection and will also help keep the bacteria from discovering new ways of being resistant to the antibiotic.

Remember that people’s hands are the most common way of spreading germs. Although these germs can be harmless they may also cause diseases such as stomach bugs.

Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics such as MRSA and MRSP can be transmitted between animals and people. So please make sure that you wash your hands properly and after you have handled your pet.

If you have any worries about antibiotic resistance then please feel free to discuss this with us.

This advice is from the British Veterinary Association.

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